WESTFIELD – The parents of a Westfield High School student who committed suicide two years ago are suing the school district and the school superintendent, alleging that continual bullying in school caused him to kill himself.
Gene Uziel and Frances Testini charge in the lawsuit filed in Superior Court in Union County earlier this month that their son, Carter Uziel, was a victim of bullying in the school district at the high school, Edison Intermediate School and Roosevelt School.
The school district and Superintendent Margaret Dolan have not yet submitted to the court a response to the allegations.
The 14-page lawsuit details “an ongoing pattern of harassment, intimidation and bullying” against Carter that dates to 2010.
The suit alleges that the school district was “fully aware” of the incidents, but failed to provide the student a safe environment as required by law.
The bullying incidents included assaults, sexual assault, theft and ethnic slurs.
In one incident, the lawsuit alleges, Carter’s lunch box was hidden in the trash. At another time a student threw an ice ball at Carter and damaged his glasses.
In another incident, in May 2015, another student pulled down Carter’s pants in class. The other student was not suspended and Carter had to serve detention, the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit also says that Carter had been subjected to ethnic slurs during lunch at the high school and had been stalked and punched in the nose.
At the end of his sophomore year, on June 17, 2018, Carter shot himself in the head, according to the lawsuit.
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The lawsuit charges the school district with negligence for not stopping the bullying, violating the New Jersey Civil Rights Act and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination.
The parents also are seeking damages for their emotional distress because they saw Carter immediately after he shot himself and witnessed the life-saving measures given to him.
The parents also have requested the school district to preserve all possible evidence, including surveillance footage, memos, text messages and any entries on social media sites.
Mike Deak is a reporter for mycentraljersey.com. To get unlimited access to his articles on Somerset and Hunterdon counties, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.
Published at Fri, 26 Jun 2020 13:13:00 +0000